It was Jordan’s birthday yesterday. As is the case with most good parents, I sent her a few cards and all my best wishes. Along with these small items, I sent her a pair of her own character shoes, which had been repaired in NY. And since she is in LA, I figured that’s where the shoe’s belonged.
A day or two before her birthday she received the package with the shoes and, of course, assumed it was a birthday gift. She called me to say thanks and she was going to wait til her birthday to open it. “Fine”, I said, but nothing more. Jordan is not very patient. She waited about five minutes, and ripped into the box. Then she called me.
“Mom, I cannot believe that you sent me my own shoes for my birthday.”
“I never said it was your birthday present.”
“ Well mom, what else was I supposed to think”
It was not until that conversation that I thought, wow, what a good idea. We should all send our children their own possessions for their birthdays. How many items of clothing or toys or sundries (I don’t know what sundries are but they always sound delicious), do our children have that; still have the price tags attached, they have never used, or that they don’t even remember are part of their wealth and or property.
Just as an example, Jordan loves shoes. Not only character and tap shoes, but boots, and heels, and flats, and anything that covers her tootsies-- the sillier the better. (That was a personal opinion). When we moved and I packed up her room I discovered any number of shoes that were if not new, not even a little worn. There were also sweaters, dresses, shirts, and pants. Part of the problem is that kids have so much stuff, they forget what lives in their closet/closets. And it’s not only kids. When my mother moved to Seattle, we went through all her clothes to see what she might want to take with her. (What things were weather and size appropriate). Mom was kind of a catalogue queen. She never received a catalogue she didn’t like, and from which there was at least one purchase. So, before member of our extended family went to a store to shop for a shower gift, (it didn’t matter what the occasion) they went into my mother’s attic to look for something to re-gift. Technically it wasn’t re-gifting, because Mom thought it might come in handy one day. Which, in fact it did, when someone wanted to give a gift they knew would be new and usually fun. (My favorite was a 3” high, pretend rock, eternal, water fountain – don’t ask). Am I repeating myself? Who can tell the difference anymore?
But back to the point (not a chance). We would all do well to look at the things we have in our closets, dressers, cabinets and yes, “chachkas” – those are the things that are, for the most part, useless. But you collect them because; they are cute, you found them on a favorite trip and they are part of the memory, you have others and you can’t stop buying them, it’s trendy, you just couldn’t resist, you are a shopaholic and for absolutely no reason at all. For example, before we sold our Arlington stuff, we had mementos from our trips, childhood, and parents. David had a seriously mildewed golf bag and some old clubs, that were his dad’s. I had carved elephants from places where I traveled that had elephants. David’s bag was a death trap for any of us who have allergies, and my elephants were serving as quite adequate dust collectors. We were never going to give them as gifts nor were we going to schlep them to a new life. But those were an aberation because we threw them away. Admittedly, I found old (but nice) clothing that still had price tags. And there were some sets of dishes and bowls and silverware, that had never been opened. What to do with all these precious items.
Since my conversation with the birthday girl, I have realized how to save already spent money and so much time. For any and all occasions that require a gift, we should merely shop from our own closets. And my guess is that most of what we re-receive, will be a big surprise. We're Just Sayin... Iris